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December 2012

 Monday 31st December 2012-

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 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! From all of us at Big Blue Diving. I hope you have been enjoying your festive season so far, including eating silly amounts and celebrating in the most festive way - whilst being as eco friendly as possible of course! At Big Blue, we never fail to be Eco friendly - even our Christmas tree is recyclable!  Understandably, we have to drink bottled water in Thailand - so what happens to the thousands of used plastic bottles every day? We recycle all our plastic bottles at Big Blue, and not just to make Christmas trees! In fact, the Thai Government pay 12 baht a kilo for recycling them, and so some Thai's make a living recycling. So when you've finished, find the nearest recycling bin, or re-fill them. What about our straw and plastic bag tinsel? A trip to 7 Eleven for a can of coke and a water and you get separate bags and 2 straws. But do we really need all that plastic? Unfortunately, plastic bags and straws contribute significantly to the plastic content in the sea, to the point were plastic plankton now exceeds normal plant plankton. So if you can, please say no to straws and plastic bags! Do you like our battery ball-balls?? I think they look great on the tree, but in the sea they leak sulphuric acid and can affect the water as much as a kilometre away. Not too nice for the fish. We recycle our batteries, as do most places around the world, including supermarkets, so find your local battery recycle depot when you have a chance. And finally our ring-pull star! Ring pulls are collected by a Thai charity which melts them down to make the hinges of prosthetic limbs! so help us donate to them and deposit your ring-pulls in the box next to our counter in the restaurant. Cheers! So have a very merry-eco-friendly-recycling-crazy-Christmas everybody!

Hi, I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for the dive instruction.  We recently took the basic, and advanced course with Neil and couldn't have been happier with the instruction.  He always made sure we understood the sequence of events clearly before going down and made sure to debrief us and answer any questions on top.  I know I speak for the 5 of us, that did the open water course with him, that we truly believe we had the best instructor you guys had to offer. Thanks again, Wes. P.s. tell that short little blonde instructor she has a killer smile ;)

Never one to say but Bryan has gone green with jealousy knowing what James is up to right now! No James isn't huffing through trimix penetrating the unicorn or teaching Advanced wreck in total silt out! For some reason what James IS doing is shrouded in mystery and shall remain that way until a later date...What's happening that we can talk about are re-breather check dives and tech fun dives! Stuey is playing at twins giving his recreational trimix student a good shake down whilst our new arrivals are just settling in doing some twin set fun dives. For anyone that's interested we start an extended range course on the 3rd of January 2013 (not a bad start is that) Any folks that want to jump on it better be quick as the places are filling up fast, sign up with James at the tech shack by the 2nd of Jan please. Bryan is currently picking fragments of sand from his private parts sat at home, come on mate there can't be that much in there, your missing out on all the fun!!!

Sunday 30th December 2012-

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So with the New Year so close & with Full Moon just behind us its possibly one of the busiest days of the year so might be needing to end our years blogs here today with a very big thank you to all our staff & all our customers who've made this our 21st year the most successful year ever! We've never done so many certifications, we've never led so many divers, we've never seen so many Whalesharks & we've never had so much fun! Thanks again everyone for making 2012 one of the best years ever! Here's looking forward to an even more exciting 2013.

Finally gone & joined the world of Twitter! We're already on Facebook which I thought was the be all & end all but apparently I'm incorrect. I need to be a Twittererer too! Still yet to understand it fully but have been told on numerous occasions that we need to be on Twitter! So we did! We Twittered! We wrote our first Tweet & Tweeted it to the world. Then 2 seconds later I was told we needed to be on Instagram! So we Linked in! We Tweeted & we Instagramered & while we were on such a roll we Flickered, Bebo'd & checked out our Video stuff too & now have a Channel on Youtube & Vimeo! We've never been so completely & fully exposed to the world out there! I feel so violated!

“Best experience of my holiday so far!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed n Trip Advisor December 24, 2012 - I came to do the open water course as a new thing to do for a few days, and ended up staying for the advanced diving course too. I was really surprised at how much I loved the diving, and the whole experience has definitely made me want to keep diving in the future. The staff we're all really lovely, and our instructor Ben made me feel really safe in the water and took everything slowly with us if we needed it. I felt safe and comfortable the whole time with him. We had a small group of 4 which meant we had heaps of time to go over skills as well as explore the beautiful dive sites. Accommodation was included, it's got all you really need! Awesome location right on the beach and loads of good restaurants near by. Awesome experience the whole way through!!

Friday 28th December 2012-

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We're being harrassed! As the worlds largest SSI training facility we are being absolutely inundated with prospective employers around the world looking for staff! If only it was this easy to get work when I first started out in diving! Anyone interested please contact our Instructor Trainers Tosh & Simon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We're looking for a lot of languages like French, German, Russian in addition to English but we also need English speakers. We need SSI Instructors in Cambodia, Lambeh Straits, Gilli Air, Gilli T, South America, Vietnam, Phillipines & Fiji & ... I think I need another Swedish & French speaking Instructors as well! Make 2013 the beginning of the best part of your life & get in  touch! 

“Big Blue Rocks!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on trip Advisor December 24, 2012 - Im struggling to find enough complimentary words for big blue at the moment. I was there for 2 months, doing my open water to DMT,,, I loved every second! From the moment i went under the water i knew id made a good decision, its heaven down there! So many fish, such comfortable diving conditions, and such awesome instructors taking you through every step, i never felt anything but 100% safe, and 100% Stoked when the Whale shark showed up! Once the dives are over, you dont have to sit in the bar for very long to see what an awesome group of people are gathered there. The staff make Big blue what it is, the instructors, Dive masters, the Thais, the burmese boys, everyones awesome!Cant thank everyone at big blue enough for the time i had, i will be back!! 
 

Another month over & the last Full Moon Party of the year is about to kick off in Koh Phangan. Its a busy one too! Possibly the busiest one of 2012 if the reports are anything to go by. Which of course brings me to the inevitable...  hope you've booked rooms! In Phangan & Koh Tao. Be warned rooms are hard to come by here at the moment anyway it being Peak Season, & the week between Christmas & New Year & now with the Full Moon Party too its going to be complete chaos! Still... the party should be a blast! Merry Full Moon Party & a Happy New Year!

Thursday 27th December 2012-

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 Well in a way i think we're all glad that's over! Not saying we've not have the best christmas ever with endless food and booze but I'm sure we can all agree that you can only have so much of a good thing! Today the team is back to playing scuba divers, James is in the classroom working on two amazingly interesting presentations for his TDI extended range instructor rating, once those are completed he will be heading out to the unicorn for his practical test with Ben Reymenants. Best of luck with that Jim! With the new year approaching fast we need a little project to organize. We've had a couple ideas but the one in the front of our minds is a trip to Koh Chang to dive the new wreck they have there. Any fish lovers will be sad to hear that there will be very little marine life on her at the moment, but that's not we're here for. From the feedback we've had this is an excellent full penetration wreck so any advanced wreck techies out there want to come and join us please get in touch. (penciled date is beginning of feb, people traveling from Koh Tao would need 4 days, two traveling days, 2 days diving) Apart from that kids we hope you've all had an excellent Christmas and aren't suffering too much today. If you are suffering then we offer no sympathy... www.bigbluetech.net

 “Best experience I had whilst traveling”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 21, 2012 - Me and 3 friends decided to do our open water diving course whilst we were traveling through Thailand. We chose to do it in Koh Tao as it is one of the cheapest places in the world to do it. Our accommodation was also included in the price aswell. We started the course as soon as we got there, our instructor was Petra who was fantastic all the way through. First day we were in the pool diving and the following 2 days at different dive points in the sea. We done 4 dives in total, at some amazing coral reef sites. the fourth dive is filmed and watched in the big blue 1 bar on a big screen the final evening, also the food is great on the BBQ here. The whole course Was loads of fun and the best thing I've done. I will definitely be returning to do the advanced diving course at some point. Cheers Petra 

 

 And in another unbelievable 'digging their own grave' kind of way we're now finding it next to impossible to supply our PADI students with the materials they are supposed to have as part of their course because for some crazy reason or other PADI have had a run in with the distributor here on Koh Tao who are now no longer supplying PADI manuals on a regular basis. So all of our PADI Advanced students today are not going to get the book they've paid for because we can't get it! We have to order it & then send it on to these students. It just beggars belief. This sinking ship is going down faster than the Titanic! It's absolutely astounding. No wonder Scuba Schools International or SSI to you & me is taking the lead on Scuba certifications in Thailand! Deservedly so too! Learn to dive properly and avoid the disappointment. Dive SSI!

Wednesday 26th December 2012-

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 A little late I know but I've just had the very worst hang over of my life for the last couple of days & then had a wonderful Christmas day off with the family. So have only just got back to work today just too late to say to you our Big Blue friends, family, staff, SSI, PADI, BSAC, TDI colleagues & friends, to our old staff in the Caymans, Australia, Continental Europe & Britain.... we wish you a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

“What a 'Rich' experience at Big Blue!!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 21, 2012 - Wow. Wow. Wow. Big Blue Diving went above and beyond any expectations I had regarding diving in Thailand. The price is already so cheap to become a certified open water diver, but the accommodations, staff, beach and restaurant atmosphere made it a pleasure to be around. However, for me the main selling feature was our instructor Richard Tod (AKA 'Rich', or 'Richy Boy'). The guy was so well informed, helpful, accommodating and worked at the pace of the group (of 6 people). My girlfriend and I did the open water cert. then actually STAYED to do our advanced. In fact, everyone from my group stayed and the 6 of us and Rich had an awesome time. WE EVEN SAW A WHALE SHARK. The experience only got better every day we were there. It was hard to leave... If you want a guaranteed good experience and get the most out of your course, I strongly suggest requesting Rich as your instructor. 

Congratulations to all our winners at the Staff Awards last Saturday. All highly deserved of the honour of being Big Blue's best! Not going to name eery boday involved but happy to spread the word for our big name winners. Congratulations Steven Best Divemaster, Best Resort Staff went to our Shop girl Jess. Biggest Contribution went to Tosh for all his efforts to promote our ITCs this year, & our top 3 Instructors were Guy in 3rd place, Neil in 2nd place & in first place was Rich with an extremely impressive 56% of his open Water students going on to do their Advanced Course with him. Congratulations to all & thanks to the Director of SSI Thailand for showing up & getting everyone absolutely battered! Oh what a night.

Saturday 22nd December 2012-

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 Staff Party tonight! The menu is set, the food is being prepared, the tequila is on the way, the boxes of beer & wine will be arriving shortly, the invites are being dished out, the tables are being set, the video's being edited, the music has been chosen, the decorations are up, the christmas tree is up & nicely decorated, the staff awards nominations are in & the Big Blue Diving Staff Awards Statuettes are polished and standing proud & ready to be given out to this years worthy winners. 2012 has been one hell of a year here at Big Blue. Thank you soooo much for being a part of it.

“Dive Big Blue Koh Toa!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 21, 2012 - 10 years ago I did my open water in the Bahamas with padi. Now I am married and wanted to get my wife into diving. We have been traveling Thailand for all of December and landed on Koh Toa, went to a couple dive shops and didn't really like what we saw. Then we got to Big Blue and met Rich, my wife and i liked him right away and signed up to do the SSI open water dive course together instead of PADI. I must say our experience with Big Blue was amazing! Highly recommend going with Rich, he is an awesome Brit with a great attitude and all around outstanding teacher and awesome guy! We completed our open water and advanced courses today, 9 dives all together, and on the 8th dive we saw a whale shark which was amazing! I would recommend diving with Big Blue for anyone who is just starting our if you have experience, you will have a great time! 
 

Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target". Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal, and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, church, family, the workplace, home, neighborhoods & world renowned Scuba Diving agencies! Come on guys move on. Aren't you supposed to be teaching the World to Dive or something!

Friday 21st December 2012- (the end of the world!)

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 Dashing through the sea, In Big Blue's biggest boat, Over the waves we go, Laughing all the way, Bells on Banzai ring, Making spirits gay, What fun it is to laugh and sing, A Whale Shark song today. Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, Whalesharks all the way, Oh, what fun it is to see, Two Whalesharks in the Sea, Jingle bells, jingle bells, Two Whalesharks here today, Oh, what fun it is to see, Two Whalesharks at Chumphon Pin- a- Clee! Thanks to Paul Cowell for this awesome shot. Check out more at http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulcowell

“Highly recommended!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 19, 2012 - I'm really really happy with the trip to Koh Tao. I think one of the best choices we made during our vacation was to choose Big Blue Diving to certify us. With their friendly personnel, fun and relaxed atmosphere and very competent instructors I can't imagine a better place to start diving. The diving experience itself was amazing for a newbie like me. I want to give extra credits to our wonderful instructor Daisy, and also to Nick for finding our lost engagement ring on the bottom of the sea, that's just crazy! 
 

Staff Party tomorrow! The menu is set, the food is being prepared, the tequila is on the way, the boxes of beer & wine will be arriving shortly, the invites are being dished out, the tables are being set, the video's being edited, the music has been chosen, the decorations are up, the christmas tree is up & nicely decorated, the staff awards nominations are in & the Big Blue Diving Staff Awards Statuettes are polished and standing proud & ready to be given out to this years worthy winners. 2012 has been one hell of a year here at Big Blue. Thank you soooo much for being a part of it.

Thursday 20th December 2012- 

20 Bitterly dissappointed to find out yesterday that 4 of our favourite Scuba equipment manufacturers Mares, Cressi sub, Sherwood Scuba and Scubapro are all sponsors of IMATA- The International Marine Animal Trainers Association. Imata are actually the guys who send their dolphin trainers to Taiji where they select their dolphins for theme parks such as Sea World, Ocean Park Hong Kong & Manila & other dolphinariums & theme parks around the world. & just in case you've never heard of Taiji, well watch The Cove- an award winning documentary on the inhumane slaughter of dolphins in a little fishing town of Japan. We will of course be immediatley halting all purchases with all these companies untill they stop sponsoring the masochistic murder of dolphins in Taiji! From here on in we're going Aqualung all the way. The Cove. Watch it before its too late.

“BSAC Conservation Course with Big Blue”-5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 19, 2012 - I came back to Koh Tao having done my Open Water and Advanced class in August with Big Blue and went straight back to Big Blue to do some fun dives. While I was there, I saw advertised a BSAC marine conservation Course on one of the information boards. I spoke with Darren and Reece in the shop with a friend of mine and they gave us answers to all the questions we asked, and gave further information about the course. It sounded great and they told us the dates of the course and we booked up straight away. We started the course in the classroom and there were 8 people in our class, some of which were DMT (dive master training) which made me think this was going to be a really good course. And I was completely right. Our instructor, Jen, was very friendly and explained everything very clearly (especially the complicated science parts). We spent the first day in the classroom learning all about various different things. For example; the different types of coral and what coral is and how important it is to the reefs, where you can find each coral and why. Having only done my OW and Advanced this was so informative to me as I did not know how important coral is. We learnt about the biology of all kinds of fish and the the reasons the have evolved to adapt to where they live and how to survive. We also learnt about the state of the ocean, which was a sad subject but Jen explained it in such a great way that didn't bad-mouth anyone or bully anyone into becoming an Eco-maniac but just very informative and what we can do as individuals to help save the reefs. And much much more. We went on 5 dives through this course. First was to find the different types of coral we had learnt about and study them close up. I really enjoyed this course as you normally can overlook coral, but after having learnt about coral, you understand how important and amazing it really is. Our second dive was to pick a type of fish and follow it around, studying where it lives, the coloring of the fish and the way it had evolved. We then had to analyse why and tell the group when we was back on board what we thought. Jen was always very happy with our explanations and when I noticed something but was unsure why about the fish, she happily explained it to me. We then went on a night five to see the coral and the nocturnal fish, which again was amazing. On the second day we carried out a survey on the variety of species we found at Sairee beach. This was very hard for your buoyancy but very rewarding afterwards. You spend so much time getting close to the coral (not too close though) and seeing all the species that depend on the coral, which normally you would completely miss on a fun dive. After that we went to the coral nursery that Big Blue have built on Sairee beach. We went out and found broken off bits off coral, that were still alive, and attached them with rope to the nursery so that it can regrow and in time be put back to where it belongs. This felt very rewarding knowing that you had done something to help the reefs in Koh Tao. Afterwards Jen suggested we all go out to dinner as a group and bring friends along if we wanted too. Everyone came along and we all had a great night. I have since been recommending the BSAC Conservation Course to everyone I meet, as it completely changes your view on what is REALLY going on in the ocean, and changes what you look for when diving. Whilst especially recommending doing the course with Jen at Big Blue. It has been one of the best things I have done while I have been away. Jen and her team, Jam Cam and Cass were great and at any point during and after the course were approachable about other conservation things we can do on the island. Amazing course with amazing instructors at an amazing diving resort... Not much else to say really... 
 

Countdown to Christmas has truely begun & it kind of feels like the island is about to be as busy as its ever been! Word of warning to those thinking of coming to Koh Tao for Christmas & New Year- DON"T! Its just too busy here!  My top tip to you would be to go to Khao Lak! A little seaside town on the west coast of Thailand about an hour north of Phuket airport. You can get Liveaboards here to go to the Similan & Surin Islands if you fancy! 4 nights 12 dives, 4 meals per day! Beautiful islands great company, mantas & whalesharks. Drop in & see our sister center there www.bigbluedivingkhaolak.com Then after New Year when its all quietened down a bit here on Koh Tao then come & see us! You'll like it more here then I promise! See you next year!

Wednesday 19th December 2012-

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With Christmas just round the corner its just struck me that if anyone was looking to make a bit of extra cash then setting yourself up with a shop with totally original Scuba clobber could be just the thing! There are many different types of original gift ideas I've seen over the years. The Scuba tank sawn in half lengthways & converted into a Barbecue has to be one of the most imaginative. The Shark sleeping bag was also a classic. You lie in your bag, your feet where the tail of the shark is & then the mouth of the shark is what closes around you at the top as you snuggle in. But my favourite is the Shark socks! Not the most comfortable maybe but definitely one of the most original!

“Big Blue Diving and ANKE are AMAZING!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 18, 2012 - ANKE was the most patient, fun professional instructor we could have ever asked for! Thank you so much for a great open water course experience! We even signed up with her for our advanced course! The whole organisation and flow of everything from accommodation to training to the actual diving was fantastic. Everyone is so friendly and helpful and it all comes together so well, in a great environment. Thanks again Anke. Big Blue Diving rocks! Xxxxxx

"Massive fishing net found at Koh Tao, Thailand. Last week on December 14th this large derelict fishing net is discovered at the Chumphon Pinnacle dive site in Koh Tao, Thailand. The net just caught hundreds of fish just before it was found by divers. It is again terrible to see a protected reef  is being used as fishing ground. The ghost net was removed by team Big Blue Diving located in Koh Tao, Thailand. Chumphon Pinnacle may be considered to be Koh Tao’s premier dive site. Underneath the southern most buoy line lies a large hole and fairly short swim-through exiting at approximately 24m, the perfect depth for this site. Head SSW is the southern pinnacle ‘Barracuda Rock’ where you will find a few large groupers and various schools of fish. Bull sharks, whale sharks and bryde’s whales are frequently spotted in this area also." - www.ghostfishing.org

Tuesday 18th December 2012-

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 Word of warning for those looking to rent motorbikes on Koh Tao. We absolutely DO NOT recommend renting motorbikes or ATV's from anywhere on Koh Tao with the sole exception of BIG BLUE BIKES at the entrance to our resort. I spent almost an entire day yesterday trying to get one of our guests off being ripped off by one of the island Motorbike renters. & she isn't the only one. Too many visitors have been robbed by various motorbike rental companies of their deposits, passports or Driving licenses through no fault of their own. If you do rent from anyone on Koh Tao other than BIG BLUE BIKES there is nothing we can do to help so please avoid this situation by listening to our advice... WE DO NOT RECOMMEND RENTING MOTORBIKES OR ATV's ON KOH TAO!!!

“Best diveschool for everybody”  Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 17, 2012- I found my stay at Big Blue very nice. I did the Open Water Course and the Advanced Course. Ben Prentice was my instructor, he explained everything well, step by step, so i didnt have to worrie about anything during my first dive experiences. Before the dives, during the dives and even after the dives we learnt a lot, and he told us a lot about everything. Also we had a lot of fun, so it wasnt only serious, but everyonehad a good time. Weird how much i have learnt in one week diving!! Me and my group coudnt wish us a better dive instructor!! 
 

Koh Tao is a beautiful paradise, full of amazing white sand beaches, incredible and variable cuisine, fantastic divers, adorable wildlife and breathtaking reefs. But right now it's EVEN BETTER!! Why? Well the geek inside me express how cool this is.. The Chagos archipelago is an array of 55 tiny islands, which contains the largest coral atoll on earth and over 60,000 square km of the shallow limestone reef and associated habitats, and about 300 seamounts and abyssal habitats. Chagos contains some of the world’s healthiest coral reefs and the cleanest sea water, sediments and marine life tested so far in the world.  It is by far Britain’s greatest area of marine biodiversity and a reservoir of biodiversity for an over exploited ocean. On 1st April 2010, the British Government announced the creation of the Chagos Marine Reserve. This designation of a fully no-take marine protected area (MPA) out to the 200 mile limit created the largest marine reserve in the world, a conservation legacy almost unrivalled in scale and significance. It will contribute greatly to a number of globally agreed targets, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity target to protect 10% of the oceans by 2020. No other action taken by the United Kingdom makes anything like such a considerable contribution to these agreed global targets. This decision undoubtedly establishes the UK as a world leader in marine conservation for the benefit of all nations. Prof Charles Sheppard was and still is a leading scientist in the diversity and ecology of the Chagos Marine Reserve, and his wife, Dr Anne Sheppard, is the editor of the Chagos news. These two amazing contributors to marine conservation are actually here on Koh Tao right now! We are very lucky to have them here, and they plan to do a few takls, presentations and marine dives with some of us on koh Tao to impart their vast wisdom. Watch this space for dates and times of their talks - I'll be in the front row! Visit and donate to The Chagos Conservation Trust at Chagos-Trust.org

Monday 17th December 2012-

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Day 17 in the month of December & we've got a 100% record! 17 Whalesharks in 17 days! Don't think I've ever scored 100% in anything ever before! Certainly hope this record continues for the next 2 weeks and we might have to write in to the Guinness Book of Records. They've been cropping up all over Koh Tao. Even had one the other afternoon at Twins, in about 18 meters depth & less than 200 meters off the beach at Nang Yuan Island. Fingers crossed for another succesful day of diving with Whalesharks tomorrow!

“Best dive school on the island”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 14, 2012 - If you're thinking of diving in koh Tao you have to come to big blue. It's got great accommodation great food and amazing staff. Our dive instructor was rich Todd and if you get a choice he is the best person you could wish for to teach you how to dive. But all the instructors are very friendly and easy to get on with. I can't say a bad word about big blue or it's staff.
 

Well I'm afraid we are now pretty much all sold up on rooms over Christmas & New Year. First time I've ever had to write it on the website which is disappointing as we don't want to put people off coming to dive with us. We do still take divers we just can't offer you any accommodation I'm afraid. What I do still have up my sleeve though is 8 beds in a single dormitory room but each bed is 250 bt per night! To be honest its about the only thing at a budget price still available tho I can get some more upmarket rooms for about 4000 Bt per night if so desired. Its going to be a pretty tough Chrimbo if you are expecting to come to Koh Tao & find something on the spot! Send us an email quick smart if you are still looking & we'll tell you what else we can do for you but please hurry. This time tomorrow I imagine those 8 bed dorms will have been completely sold out!

Saturday 15th December 2012-

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Each year 73 million sharks are killed for their fins. 64 species of sharks were named as Endangered by the IUCN last year. Many restaurants in Thailand sell shark steaks or shark fin soup. So one island and one city in Thailand decided to do something about it! Last year in September, Koh Tao hosted the Swim for Sharks 2013. 76 people swam 3.4 km around an island, 31 people shaved fins into their heads, and they raised over 120,000 baht for shark conservation. Unfortunately, a huge number of businesses from restaurants to hotels and conference centres display sharks in tanks or serve shark fin soup all around the world. So Dive Tribe and The Swim for Sharks decided to use the money raised to purchase sharks on display in tanks in Thailands restaurants and hotels, and sharks from markets being sold for their meat, and educate the owners as to why they should not keep sharks in tanks or fish them. These sharks are special too - over 70 sharks will be tagged with RF and simple identification tags so that when we do release them, we can monitor their movements, where we see them and if any turn up in the markets again, we can get an idea of where they are mainly being fished. All data will be monitored in the Koh Tao Shark Survey, a public data entry forum where you too can participate, if you ever spot a shark on Koh Tao. This information will help us understand the populations around our island and help us protect and conserve these valuable apex predators. Together with Dive Tribe in Pattaya, Big Blue Conservation is housing the Koh Tao Shark release. So if you're looking for a good time of year to visit us, make sure its around the 7th - 8th of February. There will be a chance to adopt your own shark and name the tag, and even release the shark yourself! Don't miss this!
 
“Great experience @ BigBlue!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Addvisor December 14, 2012- On the 27th of November we did de SSI Open Water Course at BigBlue. At first the lessons were planned as we preferred, even got a day off because of the full moon party :). Our instructor Daisy was very professional and passionate. We just couldn't wish for a better teacher! On our 3th and 4th dive we spotted Whalesharks, and got to swim with them the whole morning!! Thanks for this amazing week!

Good job all those who have managed to cut & remove the largest fishing net I've yet seen draped all over Chumphon Pinnacle yesterday. By first light this morning there was already 4 Diveshops down there cutting up the last of the net so by the time the majority of Koh tao's divers were underwater no one had any idea! Massive amount of fish casualties thankfully. Mostly just jacks which although sad is a hell of a lot better than catching a Whaleshark in there which I'm pleased to say decided to then make an appearance this morning as well & its the same one thats been there for the last few days so luckily no harm there. But still.. for a no fishing zone its a real shame to see the local fishermen not paying a blind bit of notice & an equal shame the local marine fisheries aren't seen to be enforcing the law. Good news is that there are stories of the fishing boat in question recorded on camera so that will be handed to the authorities & fingers crossed the guilty parties will be made soup out of! Thanks again to everyone who helped!

Friday 14th December 2012-

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We just gone potty for Rebreathers at the mo! If you were to walk into the Big Blue Tech Shack right now you'd be hard pressed to find any space that isn't completely taken up with Rebreather equipment! Diving on a Rebreather for those that don't know is the pinnacle of diving! What happens with a Rebreather is that when you exhale the Carbon Dioxide gets 'scrubbed' clean to leave you with oxygen that then goes back through the system allowing you therefore literally unlimited air supply & the very best thing about a Rebreather is that because you are 'rebreathing' your exhaled air there are no bubbles meaning you are completely silent underwater- like a fish! Allowing you to explore the underwater world as if you are as natural there as a dolphin. Slightly hairier and maybe not as nimble as a dolphin but you get the idea! Find out more with www.bigbluetech.net

“Best experience of my life!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on trip Advisor December 13, 2012 - In the spring of 2012 I was lucky enough to be lured by a diving instructor on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand into a discover scuba diving experience. As unconfortable as I was underwater (being the first time I've dived), I loved every minute of it. So I told myself that I have to do the courses on my next trip. Before the next trip, I've checked out a few websites, including WikiTravel, and found out that Koh Tao is the place to go to, if you're into diving. Then I did as much internet searching as possible to find out who to dive with on Koh Tao, since there's so many good places to choose from. In almost all reviews I've came across, one name came up all the time as ''one of the best", and that's Big Blue Diving. It was actually compared most of the times with another diving center on the island (supposedly fancier but less cool), and almost always came up as a winner in everybody's opinion. So I decided to give it a go. As soon as u see the pier on Koh Tao, you also see dozens of diving centers, all squeezed on a narrow beach. I remember thinking..."God! I hope Big Blue Diving is in a totally different place, 'cause I'd hate it to come back to this beach every morning". And, much to my delight...Big Blue has two main bars and attached facilities on Sairee beach, the largest and best beach on the island. I absolutely loved the location and atmosphere around the dive center, so I found myself coming there every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not just for starting the dive day. The next best thing about Big Blue Diving were Rich and Cassie, two very special people who seem to have found the secret to happiness. They didn't just make everybody feel comfortable both in the pool and 30m deep on the bottom of the ocean, but made me enjoy every second of every dive, in spite of me being probably the most demanding out of the entire bunch and the only one in the group who got lost during a dive :) If you're uncomfortable with something, they'll explain and show you as many times as possible how to get over it and everybody did. Both Rich and Cassie offered me their masks when I was complaining of my mask getting too foggy underwater. Seriously, how many instructors do that?! My buddy (who liked the O2 as much as his beers) even got a bigger tank of air to be able to stay down as long as us. And the cherry on top of the cake was the fact that we had a Whale Shark on 3 of those 9 dives, which is for some, a once in a lifetime experience. By the time the advanced course finished, my short trip to Thailand was also coming to an end, but even before leaving the island I had already decided to come back for more! So I'm going back to Koh Tao to these amazing guys at Big Blue, and will kindly ask them to teach me how to become a divemaster. And, to no surprise, I'm gonna ask Rich as an instructor, if he'll have me as a student again. :) (unfortunately Cassie is leaving the island). Thank you Rich and Cassie for a life changing experience! It has been, by far, the best trip I ever had! Last, but not the least, I wanna thank Laura, the DMT who was constantly watching over us on every dive. Thank you Laura for all the times u had to come up with the first one to finish the O2 or the first one to have any another problem underwater, allowing his or her buddy to remain underwater longer, and also for buddying with me on the Navigation dive and not give out to me when I was dragging you everywhere except in the right direction :D I can't wait to see you all again! I'll rub my nipples all the way to Thailand :D 
 

Well Mumma's & Pappa's and the people of Koh Tao, I've got some very exciting news for all those of you who haven't already heard. P Dusit (from Koh Tao Info) has very kindly agreed to let us use the land behind his shop to build a park/playground. I must just stress, this is not in any way a business venture, it is purely and simply a much needed space for the children of Koh Tao, so anyone interested in stepping up and getting involved in the project, please let me know. It's going to take a fair bit of planning and we are going to need lots of fund raising ideas and events along with any possible sponsorships of either cash donations or playground equipment donations (which of course will be honored with a plaque in prime position so that everyone knows whose it's been donated by). The more minds we can get together for this the better and anyone ready and willing to offer the skills required to create this mini wonderland will be cherished forever!!

Thursday 13th December 2012-

13So there's a rather hot photo doing the rounds of one of our previous members of staff Ao, our shop girl at Big Blue 2. I mean we were all aware that she was a looker but since she's left our employment she's become a model & blimey crikey! Why did we let her go? Thailands first Super model in the making maybe. Makes me want to start organising the calender we've been talking about for years of staff in their Birthday suits with strategically placed scuba tanks, snorkels or weightbelts. Then again all I got to do is take one look around the place & I realize its probably best we all kept our clothes on! Except you of course, Ao! You feel free to dress in whatever clobber makes you look this good! & if you want your old job back & want to sit around the shop looking like this all day then just give me a bell!

“Great times with great memories!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 11, 2012 - Big Blue has an excellent reputation and rightly so. Our instructor Ben struck a perfect balance between being proper jokes and very professional as the situation dictates. As one of the larger diving schools on the Island it had a wider variety of accommodation and courses to suit all needs. Would definitely recommend and return to Big Blue again.
 
To any budding marine biologists out there... Anne and Charles Sheppard, 2 top marine biologists from the UK will be doing marine biology led fun dives with in depth discussions on topics such as coral interactions and conservation. This will be throughout December and January. Get in touch if you are interested! There will also be a couple of lectures open for anyone to attend. Details to follow...

Wednesday 12th December 2012- 12

After months of speculation, anticipation and the announcement that Los Angeles-based philanthropist and co-creator of TV’s “The Simpsons,” Sam Simon, had donated funds for the purchase of a ship, Sea Shepherd's new Antarctic patrol ship, the SSS Sam Simon, was unveiled yesterday in Australia. Her 56-meter hull painted bright white with a classic Sea Shepherd Conservation Society logo on her sides, and displaying a large “S” on her tall black smokestack, the Sam Simon has clearly received several months of careful preparation prior to Sea Shepherd's most ambitious Antarctic campaign yet. The Sam Simon carries a crew of 24 international volunteers, including ex PADI Divemaster James Brooks pictured here (4th from left) in his Big Blue Tech T-shirt! James & his colleagues aim to find the Japanese whaling fleet and chase it out of the Antarctic Treaty Zone without a single whale killed.  It is Sea Shepherd's most ambitious campaign to date. Good luck James!

“'Don't go here if you want a PADI certification' – FALSE!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor -December 11, 2012 - Having been on Koh Tao for about five months and diving with Big Blue during the entire time, I've finally decided to write a review after reading a (horse s**t) review by a fellow called Peter W. I can't say what happened with this guy but I find it hard to believe his information is accurate or even truthful, let alone fair and justifiable. The staff, from the front office to the divemasters and instructors, and even the restaurant and bar, have all been nothing short of amazingly courteous and professional. I came here originally with the intent to do my Open Water certificate, which I completed under Ant's tutelage. I should point out here that I am completely deaf and despite this Ant has been unerringly easy-going and humorous and yet obviously knows what he's doing (having done more than a few thousand dives, he would). After I completed my OW, I decided I needed more and so went on to do my Advanced Open Water, also under Ant's guidance. Even then, it wasn't enough and I went on to complete my specialties in Deep Diving, Nitrox, and Wreck. You'd think by this point I had had enough, but no – I undertook the Rescue Diver course, this time under another consummate professional named Guy, who clearly knew what he was doing and answered every question, no matter how mundane, with the same professionalism, courtesy and humour that Ant has shown. And guess what? All these courses were done under PADI. So I don't know what Peter was on, but PADI courses are definitely offered at all levels (except instructor's, I think, but you'll need to clarify this with one of the extremely friendly staff at the office). Yes there are small differences in prices and the way training is conducted when it comes to PADI and SSI, but in the end the already very high quality of training remains the same and the licences are equally valid worldwide. Have a chat with the staff there, talk to an instructor (one of them will always have time for you) and see for yourself. I'm still diving with Big Blue as I am now a divemaster in training (in SSI, but not because of quality differences!), and have also started an internship with Big Blue Tech (a subsidiary of Big Blue specialising in technical diving) and I enjoy each and every single dive, reacreational or technical, without exception. I can't speak for other dive schools but Big Blue is obviously at the top of their game, still in their prime and in no way failing to meet expectations. Again, as I said, have a chat with them and make your own mind up. I do not work for Big Blue or get a discount for writing this; I'm doing this of my own volition as a paying customer as I was just astounded by the recent negative review, which in my view is completely unjustifiable and unrealistic. Dive with Big Blue – you won't (and can't) regret it!


Saved!!...By a shark?!? Mr Teitoi and his brother in law were lost at sea after drifting off course and running out of fuel. Unfortunately Mr Teitoi's brother in law passed away due to severe dehydration. On the cusp of following his brother in law, Mr Teitoi was awoken one day by a scratching on the side of his boat. When he looked over he saw a 6 foot shark circling and bumping the hull! Once the shark had his attention, he swam away towards a fishing boat off in the distance - the shark had guided Mr Teitoi to safety! "He was guiding me to a fishing boat. I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me." Said Mr Teitoi. I mean, I've always loved sharks, but that is pretty JAWesome don't you think?? The shark helped Mr Teitoi find a bigger boat! Ok enough shark puns, I promise. The End. (FIN.) 

Tuesday 11th December 2012-

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Nothing like starting the day going to 2 different Divesites & diving with 2 different Whalesharks! It's almost as if Whalesharks grow on trees. In all my days on Koh Tao, & there's been a few, I've never known Koh Tao to be this rife with Whalesharks. I think the previous annual record for Whaleshark sightings was 52, one per week which aint a bad average, but this year we've more than doubled that. Think we're near 120 whalesharks spotted over the whole year! If things keep going at this rate come the end of 2013, we might need to be finding ourselves more divesites!

'Hello! We just wanted to send a quick note thanking Big Blue for giving us such an amazing first diving experience. We came to Koh Tao not even sure that we wanted to dive at all and we ended up extending our stay to take our advanced course and were extremely sad that we had to leave the island to catch a flight. We've already decided that we'll be back to continue our training. HUGE thanks to Billy who definitely made our experience... Could not have asked for a better instructor. Thanks again and we'll be seeing Big Blue in 2013! Anna Frackowiak and Lauren Black.'

Limbering up for the Christmas Staff Party which will be held here at Big Blue Restaurant on the 22nd December from 7pm till late. Everybody welcome but its 150 Bt per head (except for staff) for an all you can eat Buffet. We will be holding our annual Staff awards but this year with a slight difference as we're going to be serious for a change. So nominations please for your favourite member of staff, the best Instructor, the best Divemaster, & the member of staff you feel has contributed the most to Big Blue this year. There will be other awards given out aswell & I'm still open to Award nominations so if you have anything special you want to say please jot me a line & I'll consider it! Looking forward to hearing your opinions!

Friday 7th December 2012- 

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A beautiful story yesterday of how Divers rescued a whale shark caught in thick rope off the coast of Mexico.The pregnant whale shark had got wrapped in a thick rope which had to be cut off by the divers who were accompanying tourists when they spotted the distressed creature. It took two trips, to 30m below the surface, to check the condition of the 10m-long shark and then to remove the rope. A large, deep scar could be seen on the whale shark's back once the rope was removed, leading the divers to believe that the animal had been trapped for some time.Whats also soo cool about this story is that quite obviously the Whaleshark knew the divers were trying to help because it hardly did any swimming but just floated there so the divers could free it. Wicked video. Good job guys!

 
“Amazzzing and unforgettable!!!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor November 30, 2012 - Fun dive Oct 2012, with the world's most incredible dive instructor... Skuey! Thank you Skuey, I can't say enough about what an AMAZZZING experience this truly was!!!! I was as green (and nervous) as beginner divers come, but Skuey made me feel incredibly safe and confident. Thanks to her expertise, I somehow summoned the superhero powers needed to scuba successfully! "Ship"loads of thanks (to Skuey and Big Blue) for a truly AMAZZZING and unforgettable experience!!! Michelle (truly Canadian, eh?) 
 
Koh Tao Weather update! Feckin Hot! No wind no rain no swell no clouds even. Just a massive big bright ball of blinding light giving off enormous energy of good times great vibrations & burning sensations. Forecast is for more of the same! Diving conditions are pretty freaking good for this time of year too. Blue! Blue Water. As far as the eye can see. Interspersed with some large sea creatures & some small ones too! And that pretty much sums up your Koh Tao weather forecast. How's the weather with you?

Thursday 6h December 2012-

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So its easy to talk about Whalesharks all week especially as we're on day 6 now without a Whaleshark but it does get a little tedious if thats all we talk about so here's something completely different! The Big Eyed Trevelly. We get them here all over Koh Tao but at Chumphon Pinnacle they often form a typhoon shaped school of thousands. If you're lucky enough to be diving on a rebreather you can even get into the middle of this typhoon & have them whirling around all round you! its one of the underwater worlds most awesome encounters so if you're in to it just swing by the shop and ask to Chumphon Pinnacle so you can check out these schools of Trevally, if the whalesharks don't get in your way!

“Amazing experience + amazing staff”  Reviewed on Trip Advisor December 4, 2012- Did a diving refresher course and my Advanced Open Water cert here last month -- what an awesome experience! My instructors over both courses -- Regi, Petra, and Natalie -- were fantastic. Incredibly professional and knowledgable, not to mention super friendly and just plain fantastic to spend time with. I couldn't ask for more from divemasters/instructors. Big Blue's dive-related facilities were great, and the bar and waterfront restaurant were a fun place to relax at after the beautiful dives (their pad thai with prawns was one of my favorites on this quick trip to Thailand -- and at a dive resort, who knew?). But it's people that make for great times, and the staff at Big Blue helped make our vacation amazing.
 

Well another month gone, another successful conservation action done! Congratulations to our super Marine Conservationists who just completed the BSAC Marine Conservation skill development programme as part of their Marine Conservation Internship. Now Harrie, Cait, Nick, Laura, Sophia, Emily, Ashley and Naomi can fly the eco flag high and contribute to conservation all around the world. From here, Harrie is off to work in Australia in Ninglaoo Reserve, Cait is going to save the mantas, Emily is completing a degree in marine science, Sophia is going to start filming all the beautiful aquatic life, Laura and Nick will be snapped up for Divemaster work as all the dive schools want the most Eco friendly divemasters around, Naomi  enforces the law on being green, and Ashley is saving the lives of fish and bananas all round. So pretty much green kings and queens! Cheers guys, congratulations on your jobs in conservation, don't forget us at Big Blue Conservation for all your training when you're rich and famous living in your carbon neutral green-houses eating sustainably sourced goodness!

Wednesday 5th December 2012-

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Wow! I have just been going through the figures for November & am completely blown away by how busy we have been! Its actually been our busiest month of the year! Not bad for Monsoon! 6 new Instructors, 6 newly crossed over Instructors, 6 DCSI Upgrades and a shedload of new SSI DM's, Open Water Students & those Open Water students who went on to do their Advanced Course! Absolutely phenomenal! Thanks again to Guy, Simo & Tosh for holding the reigns, to the Whalesharks for being around, for all our customers who have just been awesome, PADI for saving us a fortune in lost revenue & for our Manager for going away just when we got super busy! 

“SUCH A NICE PLACE !!”  Reviewed on Trip Advisor November 28, 2012 - One of the best dive shop on tao.... no bigblue diving is the BEST DIVING SHOP IN KOH TAO, i have past 7 days at the bigblue at my first trip in thailand, and it was just perfect !! the food,the dive crew, the accomodation, the spot on the island !! so sweet! iam in love whit this place its why i going back at the big blue for 2 months in junuary !! add this place in your list if you past in thailand !

 

So we got some great news to share with you! We got a new boat! Its big its fast its very sleek & its going to be here just after Christmas! To be honest it isn't actually new! Its our old Maya boat but we've done an enormous amount of work to it to make her a more appropriate vessel for our Fun Divers. We've removed the wooden hull & have replaced it with steel so its going to sit alot better in the water & we've made the dive deck a little friendlier & more space on the top deck so it'll be easier for our buffet Lunches & breakfasts when we have our Full Day Trips. We'll be running Full Day Trips 7 days a week! 3 days a week to Sail Rock, 1 day to the 3 best Dive sites around Koh Tao , 1 day a week to the Angthong Marine Park & 1 day a week to the very unexplored but amazingly beautiful Chumphon Marine Park! Certified Divers only! Trips are going to be starting from 2nd January so drop us a line to find out more about dates & schedules.

Tuesday 4th December 2012

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Has to have been the best year in recent memory for Whaleshark sightings in Koh Tao. I beleive the count for this year so far is over 100 different Whalesharks. & Weirdly enough it seems November, totally not whaleshark season, was as good a month as any for seeing them! & December hasn't been bad either with Whalesharks spotted every day so far this month! But speak to the locals here on Koh Tao especially those who used to be fishermen they tell us that in the old days they'd pop out on their boats & there'd be days when quite literally they would see 30- 40 whalesharks & thats just at the surface! Well maybe those days are coming back! Fingers, toes, knees & elbows crossed!

"To whom it may concern, I was recently in Koh Tao at Big Blue for the SSI open water diving course. I am so happy with the experience. Both classroom and open water learning was great. I did have my first ever panic attack on the first dive and thus was unable to complete it. The staff at big blue was incredibly kind and helpful, encouraging and helping me calm down. On the second dive, my instructor, Mikey, got John Huntington to dive with me so he could go down with the class and I could go down for a dive as well. Diving with John was one of the most positive experiences I've had. He was incredibly reassuring and calming. Before we went down, he told me there was no under water experience he wouldn't be able to help me with. Not only did his words have a calming experience, but so did his actions. He took of his mask and regulator to show me how easy it would be to get it under control in a real life situation, kept giving me the okay signal, and smiled throughout the dive. He also held my hand a few times when he could see me getting tense and pointed at different things under water which got me really excited to be there too, forgetting whatever hesitation and anxiety I initially had on the first dive. After we came up, John gave me a big high five and told me that over 70% of the world was now open to me. This was really amazing and made my second and third dive such positive and reassuring experiences. Though I was unable to go on my fourth dive due to ear pressure problems, I will certainly look into continuing my SSI course home. I think this was in great part because of the experience at big blue but also my one on one session with John. The skills, reassurance and excitement he reinforced and reassured me with made my days in Koh Tao not only unforgettable, but sparked a deeper appreciation and respect for sea and diving. I really want to commend the open water course and John. Thank you! Camila Merlano"

'There's no place like home.' Tap my heels together 3 times & low & behold I'm back on the Rock!  Thanks to Instructor Guy who seems to have managed to hold the place together better than I usually do! Thanks for SSI Simo who saved his holiday till the day I returned back from mine. & thanks to Part timer Tosh who seems to have taken his holiday about the same time I did! Nice to see the place is still intact while I've been away. No gas explosions in the kitchen & no flooded resort unlike this time last year. I've never seen the place looking so busy! I really should go on holiday more often! Tap my heels together 3 times 'There's no place like a holiday' and... Bugger... Still here!

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